Monday, August 15, 2005

Goodbye Poker Rewards

John Hobbes: Can I ask you a personal question?
Gretta Milano: Everything is personal, if you're a person.

How we all doing folks? It’s been a big poker weekend for both the WGPBE and WWPCTP. On the chip tricks – I went 0-12 trying the shuffle at my home game on Friday night. That was with 6 chips. Anyway, lets get to the cards to see how we went.

Friday night was on with 8 runners, two new guys who turned out not to be homicidal maniacs and not complete donkeys either. Which was a shame, because either could have made for an interesting night. When I host these games, the reports back here are a little sketchy because when playing in my house, there is n need to drive home so I tend to hit the beers, and then the memory goes except for a few hands.

Early in the frist game, on the big blind I was distracted and look back to the only the small blind call, so I raise it with the hammer. Small blind folds and I show – but opps, UTG had already called my raise. I pushed my chips across and got myself ready for a long night.

I don’t even remember how it happened, but I know I bubbled on the frist game. Second game got underway and after what was probably some brilliant moves I was in the money and coming second when for the first time of the night I get the lovely Aces. UTG I raise it up a little, and the big blind (and chip leader) goes all-in. Naturally I call and he shows 99 – The German Virgins as he likes to call them. What can you do? Three handed 99 is pretty good. Long story short – the turn is a nine and I have to go sit on the couch while they finsih this game.

And then the final game gets started about 1am, and on the 5th hand I have the aces again UTG. I make it 3BB to go and everyone folds. I show anyway because it’s late and I’m getting drunker. Next hand in the BB I get AQd, and the button raises in position. I make a re-raise to see if he is genuine, and he rasies back. Ok, this should scream strength, but I had Aces last hand – their not alowed to come out again next hand, are they? So I push. Ok, so I was a little drunker than I thought because the raise/re-raiser was the tightest player at the table, and I don’t think he made a position raise all night. He called, showed the Aces and I was dealing for the next three hours. Down $25 for the night, but it was pretty good.

Saturday night I stepped into another tournament at Poker Rewards, and due to the complete lack of beer I have a very good recolection of an action filled tournament. 130+ players for the $10 freezeout, here are the key hands for me.

Level 2: I’ve missed some flops and have gone down to $800 from a starting stack of $1500. On th ebig blind, there is a small raise and 4 callers in front of me. I see AJo in my hand and decided to push it here – if I loose, at least I haven’t wasted a heap of time in this tournament. Call…call…call…fold. Wow, this looks like trouble. I was up against AKo, AQs, and TT. There is a jack on the flop and I am more than quadrupling up here.

The next few rounds I manage to get my stack up to $4K without seeing a showdown. I notice there is nobody outside Europe playing in the tourny.

Level 6: KK gets beaten by JTs, an all-in from the short stack that I can’t really blame him for. At least it didn’t hurt too much.

QQ against a different player with AK holds up.

Level 8: I manage to get some more chips, sitting at about 3rd at the table with 39 people left, but 2 of the top three chip leaders are also here. I get AQd on the button, the same hand that I got knocked out with last night. I raise anyway and get a call from both the blinds. Flop comes AAQ. As Keanu Reeves would say, “Whoa”. Actually, I was a little pissed because now I know I’m not getting any action. Check, check, and naturally I check as fast as I can. Turn is a 8, check check check. River makes a possible flush out there, which may help. SB checks, BB bets a decent size which I double, hopefully this is small enough to make at least a flush call to see. SB goes all-in, and the BB calls this for 90% of his stack. Awesome, I push and he calls for the rest of his. I was up against a flush and pocket 8’s, but when your holding the nuts and there is two all-ins in front of you (and you have them both covered), nothing is sweeter. “All you can eat, baby!”. I now have the chip lead with $27K, second place is $19K.

Level 9: I held my chip lead for a while, but when the short stack was on the BB I put him all-in with KK. He called with Q9s, which I think I can’t blame him for since his stack was about 4BB. Queen on the flop, 9 on the turn. Damn, at least it wasn’t a big hit.

Level 10: I’m still chip leader, but not by as much anymore. I get JJ on the BB, and there are 2 callers to me so I raise about 4BB at this tight table. All I get is the SB re-rasing over the top of me. If I call and loose, I would be down to $17K – 9th out of 14. I think this is a call anyway because he would have rasied with a big pocket pair. He shows 84o, and thought I was tryign to make a move – well, the flop brings an 8 and the turn is a 4. Not happy.

From here on, it was blind steals and all-ins. I managed to sneak into the final table in 8th, but I was really feeling unlucky. If Kings and Jacks both held up, I would have had 50% of the chips going into the final table. Alas, it was not to be. Eventually with QJ on a Queen high board, I pushed and was called but the chip leader holding KQ. I took 8th, good enough for $50 plus change. It was a good payday for me, but it really should/could have been more if the cards went my way. Ok, so I was lucky with the AJ early, and maybe calling an all-in with JJ at a tight table can be questioned, but I really felt like I under-achieved in this one.

Did I mention through out the tournament I had to shut down and reload the poker room 4 times? Man, that software is crap. At about level 8 when it was getting close to the money and I had to miss a few hands while I did this, I decided enough was enough. Poker Rewards is the worst poker site I have ever played at so after this tournament, I was cashing out. I’ve cleared the PSO bonus, screw the deposit bonus. I’m not playing 1400 more raked hands at this poor excuse for a poker room.

Another stupid piece of their software is that you don’t get paid until the tournament is completely finished, so my final $50 was tied up for the next hour. I decided to wait around and cash out the second that money fell into my account. But watching an online tournament where you should still be playing (both players who sucked out on my Kings and Jacks finsihed higher than me in 7th and 4th.) is not all that exciting. So I decided to play some ring games to pass the time. There was 1 table running on the $1/$2 Holdem (and 8 people waiting – you can see why Scurvy complains about them not opening new tables) which was ok anyway, so I sat down at a 5c/10c Omaha PL table. Max buy in is $20, but I went in for $10. I figure if I loose it all, who cares it is just a time waster.

I get up to about $14 when an interesting hand comes along. I have AsKsQh7h. Not a bad place to start. Flop comes Ah4s7s, pretty good for me. One player bets, I call and we have three runners. Turn is Th, and I think I’m in good shape. I make a pot sized bet, and then other player raises again the pot limit, putting all but $1 of his money into the middle, making the third player fold. Now lets see my thinking here…Omaha is a game of draws, and this isn’t Hi/Lo so I don’t have to worry about a split pot or anything. I have two pair, worthless in Omaha, but I have outs. I have the nut spade flush draw (9), nut-1 heart flush draw (9 maybe if it’s good.). On top of that, the other two jacks would also give me the nut straight (2 more), and finally another Ace would give me a nice full house (2) and another 7 will give me a full house also, but I think that might not be good (2 for now). Ok, so I have 24 outs listed there – what does he have? Either he has a weaker flush draw, the same straight draw or a set. If he has a set, then I loose a maximum of 2 outs – For if he has a set of Tens, then I’ve lost the ten of spades and the 4 of hearts for my outs. 22 outs from 44 cards left, and there is more in the pot than I am holding, I think I can call on this draw. Now obivously all this went through my mind very quickly as you don’t have that long to make a decision in an online ring game, so how was my judgement? Did I miss anything that could have made a difference, do I really have 22 outs?

In any case, the river was Kh, giving me the nuts so when he put his last $1 in I called and scooped up a nice result. He re-bought for another $16 but I decided not to give him a chance to get some money back. Turns out he didn’t have a set and was drawing to a Jack high heart flush. I cashed out at $36 at waited five more minutes for the tournament to finally end. I took my money and ran away from Poker Reawards for good.

It’s a shame, I nearly made a 100% profit on my initial deposit there. The games are juicy, there tournament schedule was pretty good for me, but they just made too many mistakes and I am a player scourned.

I have more to say on tournament scheduling, but this post is long enough so I will save that for next time.


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